Two of the most vocal voices for Islamic fintech in the Middle East have joined forces to build and sustain an effective and conducive regional environment for fintech development, choosing a path of cooperation instead of competition to thrive.
Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) and the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) are starting 2018 on the right note: the two fintech hubs of the Middle East have entered into an unprecedented fintech agreement to promote economic growth in financial services through the adoption of new technology and highlight MENA’s fintech prowess.
The new partnership – the first fintech MoU between two MENA jurisdictions – provides a framework for information sharing, and for facilitating the movement of start-ups, knowledge and talent between the two markets. It will also facilitate the development of Islamic finance and fintech initiatives across the region.
“From our close discussions with the EDB of Bahrain, and especially at the first Regional Regulators’ FinTech Roundtable recently in Abu Dhabi, it is clear we value the importance of collaboration and mutual support in any relevant manner. I look forward to continuing to work closely with our partner in building a more connected, collaborative network among our fellow regulators in the MENA region to cater to the rapid pace of fintech growth here,” shared Richard Teng, CEO of the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of ADGM.
While the fintech sector has attracted approximately US$50 billion in investments globally, according to David Parker, the executive director of financial services at Bahrain EDB, MENA only accounts for about 1% of that. It is hoped that the new fintech relationship between these two markets will help attract more investment flows into the region.
“In Bahrain, we recognize that there is great potential for growth in this sector and we are capitalizing on this by creating the right ecosystem. This MOU marks another inspiring moment in our regional development,” said Parker. “In Bahrain, an ongoing series of legal and regulatory reforms are supporting easy access to a wide range of new opportunities, including a fintech sandbox and support for both conventional and Shariah compliant crowdfunding. We look forward to this agreement leading to the rapid development of even more initiatives across the region.”